Yoga Classes for Children with Disabilities
Children with a range of physical and developmental and other associated behavioral needs benefit greatly with yoga and meditation. Their senses are so acute that they pick up on the smallest sound, movement or touch. Yoga helps children experience increased self-regulation, increased physical flexibility and coordination within their range of ability as well as giving them increased self- esteem, relaxation and a sense of belonging.
Breathing techniques and meditation create a sense of calmness, centeredness and relaxation in the body, mind and spirit. We have observed children with more severe disabilities laugh and smile with simple yoga using sound, breathing techniques, simple games and stories. Children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, developmental coordination disorder, muscular dystrophy, down’s syndrome etc. connect, communicate and focus better with yoga and meditation.
Also, they benefit by the social contact and sense of community while bringing their own special quality or gift forward in the group. There uniqueness, innocence, joy and innate intelligence and intuition shine through in every class. Some children respond immediately to art, drama, stories and others to music and movement. Our multi-faceted classes cover all the needs and interests of the children in a fun, co-creative and spontaneous way.
Vir, my 11-year old son, has been doing weekly private lessons with Anamda Sly for the last two academic years. Vir is a spirited boy who struggles to manage symptoms of ADHD and Development Coordination Disorder (DCD). After just one year, Vir’s teachers remarked that they were observing increased facility in focusing on classroom work. Moreover, we saw him integrating and employing breathing strategies and meditation into his daily life in order to better control his impulsiveness and emotions.
Vir enjoys and looks forward to his weekly classes with Anamda. He has developed a trusting relationship with her and values her suggestions and advice. I believe that this has enabled Vir to integrate his yoga practices with mindfulness and increased confidence.
Individual Classes Are More Helpful
We have observed that children with particular needs very much benefit by 1:1 classes or a series of group classes. We welcome referrals to our program from Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Recreation Therapists, Behavioral Consultant, Social Workers, Nurses and parents. Here is feedback from a family referred from CHEO.
November 2018, we had a special yoga trip to Southern India, Kannur Kerala and connected to the local community and school through our hosts at Sea Shell Haris Beach Home. The children and young adults put on a music presentation for us Canadian visitors and we in turn had some Kirtan yoga songs to share with them as per the video.
Be Me Be Here
We recommend our “Be Me Be Here” Meditation Program for these children between 5-10
years of age after they have an initial private assessment. This practice gives the child(ren) a
foundation of a daily practice of “every day yoga and meditation.” This practice helps children
manage their symptoms and to connect with their own inner wisdom.
Become a Teacher
This is the story of Darius, an imaginative little boy and his grandmother. This story was created at the same time as the ‘All the Colors of Your Hands’ song. Read it and see what the power of imagination can have.